Seven Chapel Hill Restaurants Cited for Serving Alcohol to Underage Buyer

Chapel Hill Police cited seven businesses late last week for violating state alcohol laws.

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says law enforcement will periodically run compliance checks on local establishments, the most recent of which was last Thursday night.

“Thursday nights are typically a pretty busy nights for bars,” he says. “We sometimes will do compliance checks on Thursday nights, Friday nights, Saturday nights – the busier nights – because we know that people are, unfortunately, more likely to be complacent when checking ID’s when they’re busy.”

Mecimore says 34 businesses were targeted as part of the investigation.

“We had seven – Tobacco Road, Red Lotus, Sandwhich, Breadmen’s, Chipotle, Four Corners, and Cosmic Cantina – where servers were cited for serving to an underage buyer,” he says. “That, for us at least, is a drastic reduction in the fail rate that we had from the same time period last year, 50 percent of the businesses that we checked failed. And then we did one in June where 37 percent failed.

“That seven out of 34 is a good increase. It’s not where we’d like it to be; we’d like to have zero [failures].”

Mecimore adds the citations in these situations are issued directly to the servers.

“It’s the server’s responsibility to ensure that everybody that they serve is of legal age,” he says. “The employee that serves the alcohol in these compliance checks will get issued a citation for violating that state law.

“But the violation is also reported to the North Carolina ABC Commission, so that the ABC Commission knows that that business was found to not be in compliance.”

He says at that point, the businesses may be ordered to attend training that is offered by the police department known as BARS – or be a responsible server.

“Have us give them some education on what to look for when looking at fake ID’s,” he says, “what their responsibilities are, what we expect of them, and what will happen to them if they are caught outside of those rules.”

Mecimore says some businesses choose to send employees to this training before they are required by court after a finding of noncompliance.

Mecimore says there are no set guidelines put forward to choose the locations checked during compliance investigations, but there are some factors brought into consideration.

“Some of those are picked because we’ve had noncompliance there before,” he says, “where you’re going back and checking the same businesses. And some of them are new businesses because they’ve popped up since [the last compliance check].”

Mecimore says more compliance checks will be done in the future, but there is no timeframe for the operation.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt on SACS, NOA, Silent Sam and more

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt has just started her third academic year at the helm of UNC. She spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about a number of campus-related topics.

You can hear the different segments of the discussion below:

Folt discusses her major priorities for the new year and a self-evaluation of her first two years on the job:


Folt on what she is hearing from the Carolina community in the wake of the ongoing NCAA investigation and accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Folt on the recent spray paintings of Silent Sam and the renaming of Saunders Hall.


Folt on campus issues including underage drinking, sexual assault, and overall campus safety.


Folt on college affordability and accessibility as well as her vision of the future of the university.

Weekend Sports Roundup

While the UNC football team has to wait until Thursday to get its season started, several other Carolina teams were in action over the weekend.

On the soccer pitch, the Carolina women’s soccer team continued its impressive stretch to start the season with two more victories over the weekend. The Tar Heels knocked off the Texas Longhorns 2-0 on Friday night and followed that up with a 5-0 win against the University of Texas at San Antonio, on Sunday. UNC has now won its first four matches of the season by a combined score of 17-0.

Meanwhile, the men’s side got into the action for the first time over the weekend. Carolina won twice with victories over Florida International and Santa Clara, by a cumulative 4-0 score.

The North Carolina field hockey team got off to a very strong start to its season, winning twice by a score 2-1, against Michigan on Saturday afternoon followed by a victory over Iowa on Sunday as part of the ACC/Big Ten challenge.

Finally, the UNC volleyball team picked up its first win of the 2015 season with a sweep of Chicago State on Saturday night in Carolina’s final match of the Women of Troy Baden Invitational. The Tar Heels lost to Southern California and BYU in its opening two matches at the tournament before coming into form against Chicago State.

And in high school football, in the game WCHL game of the week, East Chapel Hill knocked off Carrboro at Carrboro High 30-27; Chapel Hill beat South Granville 46-29; Orange High got a comeback victory over Northern Durham 20-13; Charlotte Latin beat Northwood 48-13; and Jordan Matthews got past Cedar Ridge 40-29.

High School Football Preview: Week 2

Football is back across our community again tonight.

WCHL will broadcast the game Friday night between Carrboro High School and East Chapel Hill High School. The game will start at 7:30

East is looking to avenge a 42-12 loss to the Jaguars last year. Both East and Carrboro are coming off of a loss in their first games of the season last week.

Carrboro lost to Cedar Ridge 56-15. The Jaguars were torched by Cedar Ridge QB Peyton Pappas, who went 8-9 for 103 yards and three touchdowns, and RB Shemar Miles, who ran for 161 yards and also scored three touchdowns.

In their first game of the season the Wildcats fell to Northern Vance by a score of 26-15.

As both teams look to right the ship and get back on track with a victory on Friday night, WCHL will have all of the coverage you are looking for.

In other action this week, Chapel Hill travels to South Granville, Cedar Ridge takes on Jordan Matthews, Orange defends their home field against Northern Durham and Northwood is up against Charlotte Latin at home.

You can see the full schedule here.

10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans has ‘Never Been in Better Shape’ to Protect from Storms

Saturday marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina washed away much of New Orleans, and one UNC faculty member has been along for the ride from the storm’s approach through the rebuilding of the city.

Rick Luettich is the Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill, and he works out of a satellite location in Morehead City. He vividly recalls monitoring models of Hurricane Katrina as it barreled into Louisiana on August 29, 2005.

“[The models] suggested a bad storm, a storm where water levels got high and, in some cases, may have exceeded the protection system that was there,” he says. “But into the evening and into the night, after dark, we didn’t anticipate the massive failures and the catastrophe that occurred.

“And that didn’t start to become evident until the sun came up the next morning.”

When the sun came up the devastation was overwhelming. The nation watched as families were stranded, standing on their rooftops hoping to flag down a rescue squad that had enough room to bring on additional survivors. We still don’t know for sure how many people died during the hurricane and the subsequent flooding, estimates range from 1,200 to more than 1,800. Damage totaled an estimated $108 billion.

The massive number of fatalities and damage was brought about because of the failure of the levees that were designed to protect the below-sea-level city.

“Not because the water in many areas had gone over the top of them,” Luettich says, “but simply because they had failed prior to reaching their design elevation.”

Luettich says that protection against flooding wasn’t new for New Orleans. They’ve been threatened for hundreds of years from the mighty Mississippi River in addition to the coastal waters.

In the two years following Hurricane Katrina, Luettich was one the prominent researchers studying the forensic data to find out what happened and what needed to be done to keep it from happening again, including rebuilding levees that would sustain the city.

“The modeling system that we have was used to understand and predict how high that needed to be,” he says, “whether it was 12 feet above sea level, or 25 feet above sea level, or what, around the entire perimeter of the city.”

Luettich says no matter how much preparation you put into protecting the city, there are certain challenges that will never subside.

“The biggest challenge that Louisiana faces is its geography,” he says, “its elevation relative to sea level, the fact that it’s sinking. That’s their biggest challenge.

“Probably the second biggest challenge is simply the high potential for storms going there. As you map out historical storm paths, southern Louisiana is a hot spot for those hitting.”

Luettich adds that New Orleans is in better position to protect itself today than it ever has been in the past, but that is still no guarantee.

“It will be a constant battle, if you will, between man and nature so long as New Orleans continues to be inhabited,” he says. “It’s easy to anticipate the next 50, maybe even 100 years there.

“But even as you look to much longer time spans – several hundred years henceforth – and predicted sea level rises, it becomes a much bigger challenge to wonder how long New Orleans can hold on.”

Luettich says, “I’d love to be able to come back every 50 years for the next several centuries and just peek at it.”

Be Loud! Sophie Fundraiser at Cat’s Cradle Friday and Saturday

Cat’s Cradle will host a weekend of music benefiting the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation.

The lineup includes John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff, Southern Culture on the Skids, and the Neil Diamond Allstars on Friday night. On Saturday night, The Veldt, Dillon Fence, and Preesh! will take the stage.

Greg Bell and Elsa Steiner from Be Loud! Sophie were on the WCHL Morning News with Ron Stutts with more information about the weekend.


You can buy tickets for the whole weekend for $40. Tickets for individual shows are also available. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation.

Chapel Hill Town Council Member Lee Storrow Arrested for DWI

Chapel Hill Town Council member Lee Storrow was arrested early Wednesday morning on charges of driving while impaired and speeding.

Police records show Storrow was pulled over in the area of Municipal Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd for speeding. Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the incident report shows that Storrow’s 2012 Toyota Prius was going 63 in a 35 mile per hour zone.

The report states the arresting officer suspected that the subject was impaired by alcohol.

Storrow reportedly willfully submitted a sample of his breath for chemical analysis. The report shows Storrow’s alcohol content was a .16; the legal limit to drive in North Carolina is .08.

Storrow was arrested around 1:20 Wednesday morning and was released from custody at 3:30 on a written promise to appear in court.

Storrow was elected to the Town Council in 2011. He is running for his second term in this fall’s municipal election.

In a statement released to WCHL, Storrow wrote:

“I’m deeply sorry for my actions. I let myself, my supporters, and my community down. This has brought into clear focus that I’m not only an elected official but a role model, and I take that responsibility more seriously now. I’m committed to making better decisions going forward.”

Light Rail Project Clears Hurdle

The light rail project connecting Chapel Hill and Durham has cleared a major hurdle.

Natalie Murdock is the spokesperson on the project for GoTriangle. She says the Federal Transit Administration signed off on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement last Thursday.

“Essentially, this allows us to go forward and show the public everything that we’ve been working on at a very intense pace,” she says, “taking a four-year process and really trying to whittle that down into two years.”

Murdock says this draft statement focused on potential environmental impacts along the pathway from Chapel Hill to Durham.

“Throughout those 17 miles, we did have a number of environmentally-sensitive areas,” she says. “In this document, you will see our recommendation as to how we can offset some of those environmental impacts.

“And also ways that we can try to avoid impacts to communities and institutions.”

Murdock adds work has narrowed down on the potential path of the tracks.

The funding for the project is coming from local, state, and federal funds. Murdock says that will follow a 25-25-50 format, with 25 percent from the local level through a sales tax increase already approved by Orange and Durham County voters, 25 percent from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and 50 percent to come from the federal government.

A public comment period will open for 45 days after the formal FTA approval, which is expected on Friday.

Murdock says that will set off the next chain of events on the timeline.

“That final document will be finalized around February 2016,” she says. The final environmental-impact document approval will lead to additional authorization being sought from the FTA regarding engineering. “At that time, if the federal government allows us to proceed with the engineering, then in 2019 we will pursue 50 percent funding from the federal government and begin construction in 2019.”

The public comment period will include two public information sessions and two public hearings. The Friday Center will host an information session on September 15 and a public hearing on September 29.

“We need to hear from the public how they think the project will help their community,” Murdock says, “what concerns they have about how it will impact their community; if they think it will impact their access to work; if it will impact the access that customers will have to a business owner’s business.

“Those are the types of comments that we do need to hear from the public.”

You can view the draft proposal here.

Charges Against UNC BOG Member Parrish Dismissed

***UPDATE: A member of the Wake County Clerk of Court’s Office has told WCHL that the charges against Parrish have been dismissed.***

A member of the UNC Board of Governors is due in court Wednesday morning.

61-year-old R. Doyle Parrish is scheduled to appear in Wake County Court on a simple assault charge following his arrest at his Raleigh home on May 12 after a report was filed by his wife Nancy Parrish – who the report lists as the victim.

READ MORE: UNC Board of Governors Member Arrested in Alleged Domestic Assault

Parrish was appointed to a four-year term on the Board of Governors by the North Carolina House in 2013. Parrish began a leave of absence from the board in July and resigned his post on the search committee, which is looking for the next leader of the UNC system after the board announced in January that Tom Ross would be removed from that position.

READ MORE: Parrish Resigns from UNC Search Committee Amid Domestic Violence Allegations

UNC System Spokesperson Joni Worthington wrote in an e-mail to WCHL on June 29 that, “While many members of the Board of Governors are likely aware of news reports about the allegations regarding Mr. Parrish, this matter remains in the hands of law enforcement and the judicial process, which are in the best position to address it at this time.”

Worthington was responding on behalf of University Governance Committee Chair Joan MacNeill, who was the recipient of WCHL’s original e-mail requesting comment.

READ MORE: Removing a Member of the Board of Governors

University policy states that the Chair of the University Governance Committee, MacNeill in this scenario, would be responsible for submitting a written specification of reasons to consider the board member’s removal.

Clear guidelines are put forward in university policy detailing the removal of a board member for missing a number of meetings or being appointed to a conflicting board, however, there is no clear policy for handling criminal charges being levied against board members.

UNC Launches New Academic Support Website for Student-Athletes

UNC has launched a new website centered on academic services for student-athletes.

The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes at UNC announced the new website that offers information regarding all of the academic support services offered to student-athletes at Carolina, according to the ASPSA Director Michelle Brown.

“The website doesn’t change or doesn’t present new services,” she says. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase the services to the prospective families and student athletes, our current students and our faculty members.”

UNC has an estimated 800 student-athletes spanning 28 sports.

Brown has been at UNC for nearly two and a half years. She says that, since the uncovering of the paper-class scandal at UNC, several new programs have been implemented.

“One of the largest, and the newer, services that we offer is the MAP program,” she says, “which is My Academic Plan. It replaces a traditional study hall program.

“My Academic Plan is more of an individualized plan where it takes into consideration the student’s needs.”

Brown adds they are working to continue the support beyond traditional programs.

“We are taking the skills and knowledge from each individual, putting the learning specialist in there and cross training across from academic counselors,” she says, “so that we can understand how a student would need to study and what they might need to focus on.

“We also have some guided study sessions where we then, in the study hall-environment where they will be studying, practice those skills.”

The university’s website says ASPSA “helps student-athletes explore their interests and abilities and provides numerous academic services, including tutoring, secondary academic and career advising, and University and NCAA eligibility.”

Brown says the new website will better showcase the services being provided to current and prospective student-athletes as well as faculty and administrators.

“This is a place where faculty can come to, to see what services we’re providing [and] find out other faculty committees and groups that are there for them,” she says. “One of the premier parts of the website is the place to showcase the students and their academic achievements.”

Brown adds general population students at Carolina are offered similar services as the student-athletes are provided, but the oversight of the students is not as regimented.